There was this radio transmission:
“….probably the best thing you could do is drop a ladder down in this hole and put the fire out, and I’ll walk out….” Captain Joshua D. Laird-Frederick County, Maryland.
On Aug. 11, 2021, Frederick County, MD, Fire Capt. Joshua D. Laird sounded a mayday after the first floor of a large house collapsed, leaving him unable to find the basement exit. At the time of the mayday, three engines and a truck were on scene. Tragically, Captain Laird did not walk out of the basement of the house. He died in the Line of Duty.
THE REPORT & LEARNING ABOUT CSST.
My intent is to pique your interest so that you read the below linked article, and then use the QR code at the end of the column to access and read the local report (including photographs, video and related information), digest the recommendations and apply the learned lessons to your own department. There is no greater way to honor Laird than to use this information to affect training and bring about needed change.
CRITICAL LEARNING POINT:
In addition to the “checklist” in the article that will allow you to compare this incident to your operations, tthis is a chance for you to learn about CSST.
Corrugated stainless-steel tubing (CSST) is lightweight tubing that’s wrapped in jacketing to carry natural gas or propane throughout a dwelling. This kind of gas piping doesn’t always function well with lightning strikes, which is what caused the fire that ultimately led to Laird’s death.When lightning strikes in or near a home, improperly grounded and poorly bonded CSST systems might become energized. If an energized CSST system arcs to another metallic system and a hole in the pipe is created, escaping gas can ignite. (Model fire codes in the United States didn’t require direct bonding of CSST until 2009.)
Please take this opportunity to learn about CSST (link below), and use the aforementioned as a checklist to determine whether your department and mutual aid partners are using current best practices, proven science, and the modern tactics of firefighting, command, control and accountability.
LINK TO THE ARTICLE & CSST INFORMATION:
Sara Laird has joined the late nearby Howard County (MD) Lt. Nate Flynn’s wife, Celeste, in creating a data collection website specific to close calls that involve CSST fires: www.lightningfiredata.com
The Lieutenant was killed on July 23, 2018, in Howard County, MD, under similar conditions.
HERE is the Howard County NIOSH report:
I have been working with both Sara and Celeste, along with some subject matter experts on an upcoming webinar to talk about these fires, and how CSST is identified. We will let you know when that learning opportunity is scheduled. It will be an eyeopening and powerful program.
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.